We’ve touched on the fact that technology is enabling: For both good and ill.
On a local scale, many organizations have had sad yields of data breach, crashes of systems, and implementations that deliver the wrong so-called enablements to business. The latter result in poor fit, unreliability, or flat-out delivery of products and services that are unusable. “Finished” projects are torn back open for a new (and expensive) stab at success. In too many cases, technology makes deliveries of both good and bad to the local organization.
Business challenges and demands are too critical for projects that meander to conclusion, with an overage of adjustments along the way (a measured amount are ok, obviously – but the fewer the better). There’s almost a command to craft a timeline the length of an arrow’s shaft, and to shoot that arrow at a Go-Live target that is ever-closer to today’s date – for ultimate delivery of working, serving, solutions. There’s pressure, and a lot of it.
Large projects with large deliveries need matching, LARGER, postures for prevention of bad outcomes, and pre-defined, tested, and extremely robust recovery means for the truly unforeseeable. In scaling this idea to the local organization, all implementations and plans deserve adequate attention to possible pitfalls; that is, a survey for so-called “unforeseeables”, in turning them into foreseens through proper imagination and attention – and thus mounting valid preventions for bad outcomes.
In examining large scale yields of the extremely bad variety, there is one that delivers catastrophe to the local organization – that is, yours – and in fact all local organizations. It is Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP). While we may consider its manifestation as a small likelihood – you might wish to consider that the U.S. Congress has had an EMP Commission for quite some time. (Sources: www.empcommission.org – www.senate.gov – www.house.gov).
By examining EMP, it can help us to think critically within smaller, more routine, and even blasé projects. Fresh thinking will help you deliver with accuracy, safety, and surety. The CIO, CTO, IT Director, Network Manager, Programmer, etc., who can deliver with swift accuracy is a hero to business. Well, at least they should be in my humble opinion.
Our concept of Unrecoverability (from IDRU) aligns with some realities that have already emerged: existing means of accomplishment; the will of those who wish to accomplish it; and inadequate recognition of threat. Hence, there is no real definition, plan, project, and solution to thwart those who are working at this moment to deliver Unrecoverability. This lack of recognition, and the risk associated with it, falls not only on “government,” but also on each of us. So too will responsibility.
The easiest means of defeating a modern country – a country that relies on a weave of business and technology at the highest, lowest, and broadest levels – is through an EMP attack. This sort of attack could be something as simple as a scud missile carrying a single nuclear warhead. This missile need not be accurate for any specific target. It need only be detonated at a suitable altitude: the weapon would produce an electro-magnetic pulse that would knock out power in a region – all power.
Not only would some measure of a nation’s power grid be out, but also generators and batteries would not work. There would be no evacuation of affected areas: Cars would not work, and all public transportation would be inoperable. Even if trains, planes, and other mass transit were operable (they would not be), the computers that enable their safe use would not be. This would be due to the loss of all electronic data, rendering all computers useless. There would be no banking, no stock market, no fiscal activity of any kind, and there would be no economy.
Naturally, hospitals would fail without power, and medical services would be of the most rudimentary variety; basically, the average citizenry would be on their own for medical care. There would be no electronic communications: no mobile phones, no land phones, no e-mail, no television transmission, nor radio. There would be no refrigeration of food, which would quickly rot to become inconsumable. Potable drinking water would quickly be expended, and the means to create more would not exist. Fires would rage, since the ability to pump and deliver water would be nonexistent.
No central government would be able to govern – nor would any state or local government command any control over events. No police department could be able to know where events were happening requiring response. Priorities would be non-existent. The only actionable situations would be handled on a strict direct line of sight basis. The Military would not be able to communicate. Hence, there would be no chain-of-command; no control. Scattered commands and units would soon begin operating autonomously in the vacuum.
The affected society, on all levels, would be sliced and diced into small groups and factions bent on survival – the situation would be an almost immediate chaos. Absent critical supports and structure, breakdown of the social order is rapid and deadly. In the circumstance of EMP, it would also be prolonged, and possibly permanent – until the arrival of an enemy control.
Ah, but there is hope for all of us. Let’s hope that the government is mounting, and progressing, proper preventions.
Now that we understand what true “Unrecoverability” means, are there any “EMP”s lurking in your organization? That is, something that – in scale – looms so large and comprehensive as a risk that, should it actualize, it would whisk away your organization’s reputation?… your organization’s ability to conduct business and continue? It can happen - and has to others.
DAPPR’s time has come: Disaster Awareness, Preparedness, Prevention, and Recovery (the recovery inclusion is necessary because there will be times requiring recoveries; it’s not a perfect world yet). Last decade’s and century’s “Disaster Recovery” is outdated; indeed, its very name is reactionary: Oops! Disaster! Let’s haul out the DR plan…
Next: Digging deeper into DAPPR.